Upcoming major licensing changes

September 15, 2022 by

Subscriptions finally come to Em Software

Be sure to read the section Auto-upgrades to subscriptions at the end for a very important note about using pre-2023 licenses with the new MAX 2022 (InDesign 2023) release plugins. Understanding what it says may save you time and expense.

With the upcoming plugins for InDesign 2023 that Adobe will release (as usual) at MAX 2022 (October 18th) — and for newly-released plugins under InDesign 2021 and 2022 (we only officially support the latest and 2 years back) — we are making a major change in how we license all our products. This will affect everyone going forward, so we’re giving you a heads-up a month ahead of the big change, and we will be attempting to contact every user via email, pointing to this message.

Like just about everyone else in the industry has been doing (including Adobe), and as we’ve promised for some years, we’re moving to a subscription model for our licenses.

The current perpetual-for-a-given-major-version-and-previous-versions-plus-annual-upgrades-when-you-upgrade-InDesign licensing scheme is just too confusing for most situations, and not ideal since pretty much all of our customers are upgrading each year with Adobe in any case; that scheme made sense when it was introduced in 2000, with Adobe only upgrading InDesign sporadically every 18-24 months. The current scheme was also the cause of a lot of confusion, because we also have a 6-month upgrade grace period, which means it was never clear to most people when they’d need to pay for an upgrade, or use the auto-upgrades we send (many of which get lost in spam or sent to the wrong person).

Even more importantly, we release new (including major) features and ongoing improvements and bug fixes throughout the year as they naturally come up, instead of accumulating to a single big annual feature release (like InDesign). So that ongoing release process makes the most sense under a time-based ongoing subscription, independent of InDesign releases.

The new subscription scheme also means license up-front costs are seriously reduced. (See below.)


With subscriptions, you’ll purchase a license for a given period, and then renew when that time is up. The plugin will warn you when the subscription period is coming to an end. That’s the entire story. No more version worries, no more scrambling to upgrade when Adobe makes major releases, no more wondering when you’ll need to upgrade.

Subscription licenses will work over major InDesign version upgrades, so you don’t have to worry about timing the intersection of InDesign upgrades and our plugin licenses. You can simply license our plugin and then it will work no matter which InDesign version you’re using (2021 and later only; you’ll need old-style perpetual licenses for InDesign pre-2021).

We’re planning to offer subscription licenses for our products for 6, 12, 24, and 36 months, the latter two so you don’t have to worry about re-subscribing so often, and the first so you can make a shorter time commitment if that’s all you need.

We won’t (can’t) ever auto-renew, which is one less worry for most people. When your subscription is up, you’ll simply use our online store to purchase a new license for whatever period you need.

New customers (and current customers who’d like to add new users) will be delighted to find that the up-front cost of our licenses will be close to cut in half, with the 12-month subscription cost not much more than the current upgrade cost.

You can tell subscription licenses from the old-style perpetual licenses, because they’ll look like

InData 1-user 12-month license — ESD-N-1-12-FFRT-ARPH-AFJF-TTRT-FYHJ

WordsFlow Pro 5-user 24-month license — ESW-P-5-24-MCJT-TRCJ-BJBF-HTFY-CKWY

with the number of users and the length of the subscription.

The subscription period won’t start until the first license is installed, so there’s no harm in purchasing ahead or, e.g., through resellers.

We will also be enforcing license user limits for the first time in our history, both for subscriptions and perpetual licenses. Most folks won’t be bitten by this, but there were some cases where people got careless or weren’t even aware that our licenses are per-InDesign-user.

(We can still offer the current perpetual licenses for the rare case where you only upgrade your InDesign once every few years, but you’ll have to contact us specially to request that.)

No more non-Pro licenses

With this change, which effectively cuts the up-front cost in half, we see no more need for the non-Pro license level for WordsFlow and DocsFlow (which saved 33% of the up-front cost at a loss of features). Everyone can now enjoy all the Pro features!

Auto-upgrades to subscriptions

Even better, to make sure everyone’s getting more than a fair deal, when you use a pre-subscription license you already have with the new 2023 plugins, we’ll automatically turn previously-purchased new licenses into a full subscription license for 2 years from the date of purchase, and previously-purchased upgrade licenses for a full 1 year from the date of purchase. And, they’ll still function as perpetual licenses for the major InDesign version at time of purchase, so you’ll lose nothing there. Effectively, new licenses purchased in the recent past will automatically get the 2-year subscription their cost would imply, with no further work on your part.

So when you install a new plugin released for InDesign 2021, 2022 or 2023 after Oct 18th (MAX 2022), you can still try your existing pre-2023 license at installation time, and, if there’s time left in that license according to the calculations above, your license will be turned into a 1- or 2-year subscription from the date of purchase, regardless of the InDesign versions involved.


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